Without art, the earth would be ‘eh’. Wouldn’t it?
Art drives and thrives trough a pulsating Miami all year round. Attracting tourists like the Pied Piper’s mice or a plague of sorts, I often seek solace in some of its groovy restaurants, bars and sumptuous hotels of South Beach Miami. More often than not, having bumped into the real stars, to discover they are merely people with sunglasses. Like me.
One solace spot is The Redbury, located on Collins Avenue, and along with my infatuation for all things fiery and red, probably merits a review of its property alone, akin to my adventure close to its now closed but always memorably Hollywood counterpart. With a lot of fire metaphors from candles to room decor to the heat, it evokes an otherwise lazy mood that is in strict juxtaposition with an art deco exterior, brainchild of hotelier Sam Nazarian, designers Philippe Starck and Lenny Kravitz, and with a culinary outpost by Chefs José Andrés and Katsuya Uech. Apparently mimicking New York lofts which I didn’t quite explore, the lobby to enter its majestic restaurant is shielded by a velvet curtain in blood red, with an Egyptian Goddess figure beckoning you to enter on Alice in Wonderland tiled black and white floors. A particular clandestine structure beckoned for a mood of poetry and nights with lovers.
The rooms have a bohemian counter cultural feel, with inspiration from the art of the streets as bedroom backings, mirrors aplenty for adornment and fetishes. Each room also has a record player with a special vinyl collection curated by Capitol Records, and serves equal pourings of whiskey with tea and coffee that make mornings worth lingering after. With no penchant for beaches, I found the bedroom salacious for my decorous needs, and the rooftop pool a solace to perch.
With cabanas that overlooked the foliage and haute gentry of Miami, alongside its art deco topography, I found many afternoons merrily soaked in the heat of a nearby Caribbean sun much more alluring than the crowded beaches. And often found soul seekers like myself adorned in Dolce and Gabbana swimwear and sunglasses basking the days away.
For evenings, after darting to a neighborhood Shelbourne bar for a dose of neon lights, I sauntered into the restaurant Cleo, a sister of it’s Hollywood outpost. It was quite dark on the inside, the speaking of modern Mediterranean palatial wonders, with artwork of scantily clad but gilded goddesses of bygone eras, high and open faced ceilings and an open bar and kitchen format.
I had a mix of appetizers pre-party, with filo wrapped spinach and spanakopita cheese, which while heavy on the frying, was a crunchy delectable blend of salty cheese that whisked me back to Greece. The brussel sprouts were a favorite, chopped and cooked in almost unrecognizable forms, these came with a tangy vinaigrette, capers and toasted sliced almonds. The secret to their curious crunch was that the leaves were deep fried first, giving the dish the need for parchment paper as a holder and transporting it away from its healthy origins.
The showstopper was the performance of the skillet halloumi, cooked with brandy on fire table-side. With an undertaste of honey and orange bitters, it took the spicy chimichurri sauce to elevate this heavenly cheese to the next level. The performance also made me many onlooker friends.
And thus ended a late night in South Beach Miami, decked for the city to paint me with it’s colors. A night of new meals, new favorites, new friends, and new stories
For if you don’t formulate a story between the stars, you may as well call it daylight.